Solar farm refused despite lack of local site options

Adverse landscape impacts and the need to safeguard the green belt from encroachment have led to refusal of plans for a solar farm in the Surrey countryside.

200-005-858 (Image Credit: Tandridge DC)
200-005-858 (Image Credit: Tandridge DC)

After recovering the appeal, the secretary of state agreed with the inspector that the main issues related to the scheme’s impact on landscape character and green belt openness. On the first issue, he agreed that the 5.25-megawatt solar arrays and associated infrastructure would adversely alter the local landscape, particularly from a public footpath through the site. He gave the scheme’s temporary nature only limited weight, especially as landscaping would take up to 15 years to mature. 

On the green belt issue, the secretary of state agreed with the inspector that the proposal represented inappropriate development, would reduce openness through its industrial appearance and result in encroachment into open countryside which the green belt designation was there to prevent.

He was not swayed by arguments that there was little land in the council’s area that was outside the green belt. He noted that there was still land elsewhere in the county that could accommodate renewable energy projects. He concluded that the proposal’s benefits did not clearly outweigh harm to the green belt and landscape character and very special circumstances did not exist to justify the scheme.

Inspector: Jonathan Hockley; Written representations

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